|Foreign Ministry Spokesperson Hua Chunying's Regular Press Conference on August 19, 2021|
CCTV: We noticed that the fifth China-Arab States Expo opened in Ningxia today and President Xi Jinping sent a congratulatory letter. Could you please give us more details including the purpose and significance of this expo?
Hua Chunying: The China-Arab States Expo, formerly the China-Arab States Economic and Trade Forum, was upgraded to the current format in 2013 and has been successfully held for four times. During the previous four sessions, the China-Arab States Expo attracted more than 40,000 guests and 5,000 enterprises from 112 countries and regions and agreements for 936 cooperation projects were signed.
The fifth China-Arab States Expo opened today and President Xi Jinping sent a congratulatory letter to the event. President Xi stressed in the letter that China is prepared to work with the Arab states to pursue common development, safeguard peace and development, deliver mutual benefits, and promote the high-quality development of the Belt and Road Initiative, with a view to building a higher level China-Arab strategic partnership and a community with a shared future for China and Arab states in the new era. This fully reflects the great importance China attaches to the development of China-Arab strategic partnership.
Since the establishment of strategic partnership in 2018, the two sides have enhanced political mutual trust, supported each other more firmly on issues concerning each other's core interests and major concerns, coordinated and cooperated more closely in international and regional affairs, and jointly safeguarded the interests of developing countries. In particular, after the outbreak of COVID-19, the two sides have provided mutual assistance and demonstrated their brotherly bond at trying times through concrete actions. To date, China has shipped nearly 100 million doses of Chinese vaccines to Arab states in the form of assistance or exports. We are working with the United Arab Emirates and Egypt in joint filling and production of vaccines, which has provided strong support to Arab states in their fight against the virus.
China and Arab states are natural partners in Belt and Road cooperation. In recent years, our joint efforts to build the BRI have deepened with solid progress. China has signed BRI cooperation documents with 19 Arab states and the League of Arab States. In the first half of this year, two-way trade reached $144.27 billion, up 25.7% year on year, and China remains the largest trading partner of Arab states. Looking ahead, China will follow the consensus reached by President Xi Jinping and leaders of Arab states to continuously deepen connectivity, pursue high-quality BRI cooperation and jointly build a community with a shared future for China and Arab states.
Global Times: On August 18 local time, the Canadian court concluded the first trial of Meng Wanzhou's extradition case but reserved the decision. Meng's defense lawyer stressed that it can be seen that there was no deception in this case, no loss was caused, and there was not even a reasonable risk causal discussion. Besides, last night, the Global Times published an open letter to the Canadian ambassador to China and initiated an online petition calling on the Canadian side to unconditionally release Meng Wanzhou. What is China's comment on that?
Hua Chunying: We have noticed relevant reports. China pays great attention to the trial in the Canadian court.
In fact, during the trial, the Canadian judge in charge of the case questioned the fraud charges by the US against Meng Wanzhou for several times, calling these accusations "unclear" and "unusual". The Canadian prosecutors have shown self-contradictions and allegations that they cannot justify at all. China has stressed from the start that the Meng Wanzhou case is purely a political incident. The US government concocted the incident not for legal reasons, but to keep Chinese high-tech companies down and obstruct China's scientific development. This has been fully proved by more facts and fully recognized by more people. The Canadian side has been acting as an accomplice for the US side and can never shirk its responsibility.
Ms. Meng Wanzhou has not violated any Canadian law but has been groundlessly detained by Canada for close to 1,000 days. Ms. Meng Wanzhou is a daughter to an elderly father, and a mother to young children. The Canadian side, acting as an accomplice for the US, has been disregarding the fact that Ms. Meng has not violated any Canadian law and has groundlessly and arbitrarily detained her. This constitutes textbook coercion and human rights violation. I wonder, when some in Canada talk about defending human rights and democracy, have they thought about the human rights of Ms. Meng Wanzhou? Have they thought about the human rights of Ms. Meng's young children? Have they thought about the human rights of Ms. Meng's family? Such moves certainly have outraged the Chinese public.
I noticed that Global Times last night published an open letter to the Canadian ambassador to China and launched an online petition. Within less than 24 hours, more than 6.5 million people have added their names to the letter. This is China's public opinion. We hope Canada could hear this. At the same time, we have noticed that many Canadians with vision have been calling on the Canadian government to end the extradition of Ms. Meng Wanzhou under Canada's Extradition Act. We urge the Canadian government to heed these voices for justice seriously, uphold the spirit and courage for independence, immediately correct mistakes, release Ms. Meng Wanzhou and ensure her safe return to the motherland as soon as possible.
Shenzhen TV: Former US Ambassador to the UN Nikki Haley and Republican Rep. Mike Waltz published a signed article on August 18, falsely accusing China of oppression of 1.4 billion people and genocide against millions of mostly Muslim Uighurs and calling for the US government and enterprises to boycott next year's Winter Olympics in Beijing. Do you have any comment?
Hua Chunying: When the world is shocked and saddened by the chaos and misery at Kabul's airport, a handful of politicians in the US are turning a blind eye to the ongoing tragedy of its own making. In fact, they are still busy spreading China-related lies and rumors unscrupulously under the pretext of democracy and human rights, which again reveals the hypocritical and ugly nature of these US politicians.
They falsely claim that China "oppresses" 1.4 billion people. I am one in the 1.4 billion, and each of my colleagues and Chinese journalists here is also one in the 1.4 billion. How come we don't feel oppressed? Why do we feel particularly happy, safe and proud to live in China today?
Once again, I can responsibly say to some US politicians that people of all ethnic groups in Xinjiang, including over 11 million Uighurs, are living a happy life and enjoying unprecedented security, peace and happiness. The US politicians can't find any evidence of so-called "genocide" and "crimes against humanity" even with a magnifying glass or a microscope.
By contrast, the US conducted genocide of Native Americans and discriminated against ethnic minorities in the history. Its botched epidemic response has led to the death of more than 600,000 Americans. The US has engaged in subversion and sabotage in many countries, grossly interfered in other countries' internal affairs. It has even waged wars under the pretext of democracy and human rights, causing numerous civilian casualties, broken families and displacement. Afghanistan is the latest case in point. Anyone that doesn't shut his or her eyes can see it is the US that has committed genocide and crimes against humanity and the US is the biggest threat to democracy and human rights.
We hope certain US politicians will stop defiling the sacredness of Olympic Spirit and refrain from undermining the interests of athletes, the American ones included, and the international Olympic cause for their selfish political gains.
Bloomberg: Has China been in touch with the Taliban since it seized Kabul? Also, what conditions would China have in order to recognize the Taliban as the legitimate government of Afghanistan? Would it specifically demand that the organization protect the rights of women better than it did when it was in charge 20 years ago?
Hua Chunying: China maintains contact and communication with the Afghan Taliban and other parties on the basis of full respect for the sovereignty of Afghanistan and the will of all parities.
After major changes took place in Afghanistan recently, the leaders and the spokesperson of the Afghan Taliban have said publicly through different channels that the Afghan Taliban would resolve problems the people face, meet people's aspirations and stay committed to forming an open and inclusive Islamic government. They said the Afghan Taliban works toward equality and elimination of discrimination, and announced that former government staffs would be pardoned and women's rights and interests would be protected, including freedom of speech, employment and access to education. The spokesperson also said, the Afghan Taliban would act responsibly to protect the safety of Afghans and foreign missions in Afghanistan, build good relations with all countries and never allow anyone to use the Afghan territory to threaten other countries. China has taken note of these positive statements and signals.
We have also noticed that some political figures of Russia and other countries and many international media have recognized Afghan Taliban's behaviors after it entered Kabul, believing that they have been good, positive and pragmatic actions. Although the Afghan situation is not fully clear yet, they believe the Afghan Taliban will not repeat history, and the Afghan Taliban today is more clear-headed and rational than it was in power last time.
We encourage the Afghan Taliban to follow through its positive statements, unite with all parties and ethnic groups in Afghanistan, establish a broadly-based, inclusive political framework that fits the national conditions and wins public support through dialogue and consultation as soon as possible, and adopt moderate and prudent domestic and foreign policies. That's what we hope to see. It's also hoped that the Afghan Taliban can contain all kinds of terrorist and criminal acts and ensure a smooth transition of the situation in Afghanistan to take the long-suffering Afghans away from wars and chaos as soon as possible and build lasting peace. The process of peace and reconstruction won't be plain sailing since many contradictions have built up in Afghanistan and difficult problems have been left by the US. In this process, the international community should encourage and support solidarity and cooperation of all parties and ethnic groups in Afghanistan to open a new chapter in the Afghan history.
I noticed that some people have been saying they don't trust the Afghan Taliban. I want to say that nothing stays unchanged. When understanding and handling problems, we should adopt a holistic, interconnected and developmental dialectical approach. We should look at both the past and the present. We need to not only listen to what they say, but also look at what they do. If we do not keep pace with the times, but stick to fixed mindset and ignore the development of the situation, we will never reach a conclusion that is in line with reality. In fact, the rapid evolution of the situation in Afghanistan also reveals how the outside world lacked objective judgment on the local situation and accurate understanding of the public opinion there. In this respect, some western countries in particular should learn some lessons.
Phoenix TV: The Japanese Liberal Democratic Party plans to have a "2+2" high-level dialogue with the Democratic Progressive Party in Taiwan through the inter-party communication channel, instead of an inter-governmental dialogue. Do you have any comment?
Hua Chunying: I noted relevant reports. Taiwan is part of China. The Chinese side firmly opposes all forms of official interactions between Taiwan and countries having diplomatic ties with China.
The Taiwan question concerns the political foundation of China-Japan relations. On the Taiwan question, the Japanese side bears historical responsibilities to the Chinese people for its past crimes and should especially be prudent with its words and actions. We seriously urge Japan to review its considerations, avoid interfering in China's domestic affairs in any form, and refrain from sending wrong signals to "Taiwan independence" forces in any form.
CGTN: Some US media and personnel said that China is laughing at the US as it embarrassingly fled from Afghanistan. Do you have any response?
Hua Chunying: Isn't this a laughing stock in itself?
It is not difficult to understand that there are such views in the US. Instead of looking for causes from within so as to get to the root of the problems, the US habitually takes every opportunity to shift blames onto others whenever it encounters problems.
As to whether the US' Afghanistan policy is a failure and whether US allies still think it is reliable and credible, people have their fair judgement.
Phoenix TV: The US government announced it will will impose a 40% capacity limit on Chinese airlines flying into the US, after the Chinese government required a US airline to reduce its passenger capacity following a circuit breaker arrangement. Do you have any comment?
Hua Chunying: Five passengers aboard United Airlines flight UA857, which entered China on July 22, tested COVID-19 positive. The Civil Aviation Administration of China (CAAC), in accordance with the circuit breaker measures concerning scheduled international passenger flights and based on the choice of the airline, imposed a 4-week passenger load factor (PLF) limit of no higher than 40% on flight UA857's operation starting from August 9.
The measures of circuit breaker or limiting PLF operation are an important step to reduce the risk of cross-border spread of the epidemic. The measures, which are open and fair, apply equally to both Chinese and foreign airlines. When it comes to flights operating between China and the United States, circuit breakers have been triggered by Chinese airlines like Air China and China Eastern Airlines. As for the airlines that do not meet the conditions to trigger circuit breaker, China has never applied relevant measures on them. Therefore, this US decision to restrict the passenger load factor of Chinese flights to the US is unjustified. What the US did is very unreasonable.
Going forward, China will continue to implement all epidemic prevention and control measures, including circuit breakers, to prevent as much as possible the spread of the epidemic.